Golden Boy's Oscar De La Hoya says he's going to bring the idea of a 154-pound tournament to Richard Schaefer and Eric Gomez, and see if something can't be made in what is a division he (rightly) feels is currently packed with talent. The idea would be for an eight-man, single elimination tournament, which should last about a year, rather than the overly long, two-year journey of the Super Six World Boxing Classic and its round robin format.
"Why not do an eight-man tournament in a shorter period of time. Why not have three fights or even four fights in one night and make it a single-elimination tournament in a shorter amount of time," said De La Hoya.
"It doesn't have to last a year or two years. This tournament can last a few months. But a tournament at 154 pounds would be incredible. It would be amazing."
Indeed, it would be something really great, especially if they could land the lineup Oscar is thinking about.
Here are Oscar's candidates, and we'll start with two who are probably just names being thrown out to draw attention to this idea:
- Canelo Alvarez (40-0-1, 29 KO, WBC Title): Alvarez is really, really unlikely to be taking part in anything like this, because he's a money fighter who doesn't need a tournament gimmick to get main event bouts on TV or any added attention. Speaking of which...
- Miguel Cotto (37-3, 30 KO): Repeat what I just said but replace "Alvarez" with "Cotto." Miguel is in the game for big money fights now, and there's nothing wrong with that. He's 31 and long ago stopped paying his dues. Don't get me wrong, it would be awesome to have both of these guys in a tournament format like this, but I don't see it happening.
So let's look at some of the more realistic possibilities:
- Cornelius Bundrage (32-4, 19 KO, IBF Title): "K9" would be great for a tournament. He's got a belt, which could be an issue if the IBF doesn't give him time to make what could be three optional defenses. That could go one of two ways given his status. He's 39 years old, and he worked hard to get this belt, his first world title. The belt is a key negotiating tool for him. In a tournament format, he wouldn't necessarily NEED the title belt, but it's something he might not want to give up and risk never getting another shot at, and I couldn't blame him for taking that stance if he did.
- Austin Trout (25-0, 14 KO, WBA Title): Trout isn't promoted by Golden Boy, but he's managed by Al Haymon, and those two sides work together a lot. One gets the feeling GBP would like to promote Trout down the road if he becomes available. Austin has made clear he wants opportunities, and I'm sure he'd jump at this chance if it came up.
- Erislandy Lara (17-1-1, 11 KO): Lara's stock dropped just a little bit with a less than satisfying win over Freddy Hernandez on Saturday, and he's not a guy who can afford stock dropping. He's got no fanbase and he's too good for a lot of guys to want to fight. The tournament would be perfect for him, since fighters would be forced to face him, basically.
- James Kirkland (31-1, 27 KO): Kirkland has the ability to get TV fights easily because he's a good TV fighter, but he does need some kind of breakthrough win still. At 28, his signature win is against Alfredo Angulo, a guy who isn't all that great and has his own questionable resume in some regards. It was a great fight and showed what Kirkland is made of mentally, but to hang around at the top level of the division, he needs something big. This would be that chance.
Alfredo Angulo (20-2, 17 KO): They did mention him, but Angulo is in a California jail right now, too, and obviously that would have to be resolved, and then he'd have to be allowed to legally enter the States, and while they may be able to get him out, the other part could be a major
- Carlos Molina (19-5-2, 6 KO): Still doesn't have a pretty record but still can fight and still is a problem for just about anyone. He gave Kirkland and Lara plenty to deal with and ran over Kermit Cintron last year. I also am rooting for him to get another shot -- for one, I didn't think his holding in the Kirkland fight was really that wild or over the top, and for another thing, he usually doesn't hold that much anyway.
- Carlos Quintana (29-3, 23 KO): Quintana would be an interesting wild card thrown into this mix. He's a good boxer, he can punch, and he's a southpaw. He also knows his way around the ring.
I love the idea. It's probably an uphill battle to get it to happen, but those seven guys plus one more (Oscar jokes and says he could be the eighth -- I hope he's joking, anyway) make for a very, very interesting tournament, one where I could see a lot of different outcomes in the end.